By Paul Kirsch
CONWAY — So what exactly does a biathlete do to train in the summer? For many sports, it's the cold, dark winter months when hard training is done to reap benefits for the spring and summer. For a winter sport athlete like Center Conway's Sean Doherty, the cold, dark winter months are his season.
The youngest U.S. biathlete athlete chatted about his offseason during a recent interview
So tell us about your "off season". When I say 'off season,' I really mean, tell us about your summer. I think for a lot of us we know that your training doesn't stop when the snow is gone but can you break down kind of a typical week of training when there isn't snow?
"Good question! 'Off season' is a misnomer when it comes to biathlon. Technically we are not skiing on snow but in the summer we spend many more hours per week training than we do in the competition season. So, for example last week was a pretty hefty one and here is the breakdown to put it simply:
Monday: morning — sub race pace intensity for one hour; two hours skate total. Afternoon — jog and strength train for 90 minutes.
Tuesday: morning — shooting combo, 4 hours of roller skiing. Afternoon off.
Wednesday: morning — three and a half hours of free choice workout. Afternoon — shooting only.
Thursday: morning — 40 minutes race pace combo with shooting drills, two hours total. Afternoon —
run, plyos and core for one hour, 45 mintues.
Friday — morning — combo of two and a half hours of skate training. Afternoon — jog and strength training.
Saturday — morning — three hours of free choice training.
Sunday — off.
"This is a fairly typical week for me. I hope you can understand the reason I say "off season" is not quite the right phrase. The fun thing is that we get to do quite a bit of cross training. A lot of hiking, running and cycling make their way into the weekly workouts which really helps keep the variety interesting. So the summers are full of hard work but also a lot of fun!
Did you do any traveling during the summer outside of Lake Placid?
"I did a fairly lengthy camp in Europe this summer.
"We did some races at the Blink festival in Norway which was a lot of fun. They set up a small roller ski track and a shooting range in this town and we have these very fun little short races in the evenings. It was my first time there and I can't wait to go back.
"Then we got back to a more training focus in Sweden for a bit and in northern Italy for a week. It's is a beautiful place to train. After that was three weeks in Germany at the World Cup venues in Oberhof and Ruhpolding. It was a long time to be away but a lot of fun and it really broke up the summer."
Did you do any races?
"We don't do a lot of summer competition. We race so much in the Winter that the summer is focused mostly on preparation. Other than the Blink festival we do a few time trials and some smaller roller ski competitions. That keeps us hungry to race all winter long."
When do you get back on snow?
"We will get on snow by the end of October at our pre season camp in Canmore, Canada."
When is your first race on snow?
"We have a couple of pre season races planned for the beginning of November to help us get sharp for the opening World Cup on Nov. 25, in Östersund, Sweden."
Can you describe a little what the snow tunnels and indoor arenas in Europe are like? How does the snow compare to regular snow, is it pretty much the same?
"These are really cool facilities (pun intended). It is essentially a gigantic refrigerated building with a ski trail through it. It is man-made snow but we are on real skis. It is a lot of fun although it can get a bit tedious skiing for long amounts of time indoors. We do a lot of work on our skiing technique and testing race skis for the coming season."
What are your thoughts on the upcoming World Cup 2017 season — are there any specific events you are focused on?
"I am really looking forward to the race season. We still have a few weeks of hard work before the season starts but we have a really strong team and we are all getting excited for the season to start. The main focus is on the World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria. But we are also going to Korea to race at the Olympic Venue and see what that is like. It's a long season with a lot of travel but i am really looking forward to all the racing."
The interview with Sean was done by email by Paul Kirsch, who helps Sean maintain his website. During the winter months, Paul can be found on his couch every Saturday and Sunday mornings live-streaming Biathlon World Cup events cheering on Sean.
- Category: Personalities